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H1Z1’s Fight for the Crown TV debut is tonight with $300K on the line

Just as this post goes live at 9 p.m. EDT, Daybreak’s H1Z1: King of the Kill will see its TV debut as its Fight for the Crown tournament is aired on The CW, the perfect channel for a zombie survival sandbox, given its preponderance of cringey YA genre material.

But before you go all “kids these days,” check out Daybreak’s new infographic and the behind-the-scenes vids — it’s definitely not just kids who’d like a slice of that $300,000 prize pool.

Anybody watching tonight, or will you be sobbing quietly in a corner with Just Survive?

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H1Z1: King of the Kill preps pre-season 4 and televised e-sports debut

H1Z1: King of the Kill, that zombie sandbox you love to hate but apparently just can’t quit, is preparing pre-season 4. The main thing you’ll need to know while you’re angrily playing the game is that kill scores will be increased (to make achieving Royalty harder); kill values will be “bucketed” depending on the phase; and the new reward set item this round is a helmet with a skull on it.

The successful favored spawn of the H1Z1 brand is also gearing up for its television debut with the $300,000-prize-pool Fight for the Crown event that will be broadcast on Thursday.

H1Z1: Just Survive, meanwhile, is living in a van down by the river, but it swears it has a plan to turn its life around this time. And yes, both games are still in early access following an aborted launch last fall.

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H1Z1 adds more east coast servers, new team follow cam

Here’s an unfortunate scenario: You are taking part in an elimination-style match and you have just been killed. What is there to do next? Do you stare at the sky for the next 10 minutes or should the game kick you out to the menu?

H1Z1 has come up with a different solution for King of the Kill, which is a new team follow camera that allows spectral players to attach themselves to group members who are still alive (but not the enemy, of course). That way you can at least be entertained and informed, even if you are completely powerless to do anything more about it.

This week’s H1Z1 patch has several other changes and features than the team follow cam, including degrading vehicle performance when it takes damage, better hit feedback, arena optimizations, a nerf to the magnum pistols, and easier to see ammo boxes and grenades.

The team also reports that it has added more east coast servers, which should improve performance and latency to those connecting in that area.

Source: Patch notes

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H1Z1: King of the Kill is a game no one likes that’s still on Steam’s top games

Do you like H1Z1: King of the Kill? That’s a trick question; just a quick glance at the game’s Steam page would reveal that no one likes it. It has a 59% rating from reviews, it’s covered in reviews saying that the game is a buggy and unfinished mess that’s never going to be as developed as it could be, and in Steam’s performance charts it… winds up being one of the top-played games. Despite all of that. So perhaps there’s something to learn here.

It turns out that while a lot of players will vociferously point out how much they dislike the game, that doesn’t stop people from playing it and streaming it whilst enticing others to do the same. The result is a game which is unpopular in discussion but quite popular in terms of actual units sold and hours logged, i.e. the metric that the designers actually care about. So if you really dislike the game and the focus it’s gotten by Daybreak, perhaps a solution to that would involve… well, actually not playing it.

Source: Kotaku; thanks to Agemyth for the tip!

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H1Z1 makes it easier for you to see what you’re hitting

H1Z1’s PvP side is finally getting some much-needed love (sorry, slight dig at Daybreak’s preferential treatment of King of the Kill). The devs posted a new diary this week to talk about the three major projects that the team is tackling this month.

With 64% of players polled telling the studio that game optimization is “extremely important,” Daybreak’s engineers are working to improve framerates and overall performance. Another project is providing useful visual feedback from firearms so that players can easily tell if their shots are hitting body armor… or just bodies.

Vehicle destruction was the final topic for discussion: “We added several different vehicle degradation states that trigger at various damage thresholds. Take enough damage, and your car loses torque, handling, and eventually, turbo. The new vehicle UI helps to communicate these states with warning lights, and you can see the impact of each state on your overall mobility with the speedometer.”

Source: H1Z1

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The Survivalist: Massively OP’s guide to multiplayer survival sandboxes

Welcome to The Survivalist! Ya’ll might have noticed that I have gravitated a bit from my happy home of deep, immersive virtual worlds (possible due to the lack of them!) and have been tinkering about and enjoying time in various survival games. This isn’t as odd as you might think! One thing I love about sandbox worlds is the ability for your actions to matter in terms of shaping the world and carving out your place in it. Survival games have been allowing me just that with opportunities to build the world, from the society on it to structures in it to the even the physical world itself. And decisions definitely matter, bringing satisfaction and reward or disappointment and destruction.

I’m not alone in this appreciation of the survival genre, either. Many MMO gamers have joined mainstreamers by flocking to it lately as seen by the explosion of the available games. Those of you not on board yet might be wonder just what is so alluring about a genre that has many elements of MMOs but on smaller — and oft times privately managed — scale. As the weeks and months wear on, The Survivalist is going to explore all the nooks and crannies of the survival sandbox genre (and likely die many, many times in the process!), but today, we’re going to look at what players can jump into to test their survival skills. So here’s a guide to many options in the newest genre to take over our gaming sphere.
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The Perfect Ten: A plague of MMO bears

I have long been of the opinion that there are few more terrifying animals on this planet than bears. Sure, there are sharks, the mighty kraken, and that little fish that may or may not swim up your urethra and summer home there, but as I live primarily on the land, I think that the odds are greater that a rampaging bear might ruin my day.

True story: When I lived in Colorado Springs, one morning I left home to drive to work and there was a black bear sitting in the middle of the road. I looked at it, nonplussed, and then sloooooowly backed up into my driveway and called in a sick day. Bear days should totally be a thing, however.

I have also been of the opinion that bears are consistently underestimated in MMORPGs. They’re low level trash mobs or pets that finger players as complete noobs for not picking something more exotic. More exotic? Son, if you have a bear on your side, you have won the game. Period. One swipe of its paw and any raid boss’ head should pop right off.

There is a plague of bears in MMOs. Today, let us delve into the ursine horror that curses our genre.

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Here’s how that H1Z1 TV broadcast deal went down

Were you scratching your head over last week’s announcement that H1Z1 would be bringing its upcoming PvP tournament to the CW network? We were too, which is why this interview with Daybreak makes for fascinating reading. So how did that TV deal happen?

Apparently CW has prided itself on being the first broadcast network to take an interest in e-sports, joining ESPN and TBS in showing live video game matches to interested viewers. H1Z1: King of the Kill Executive Producer Chris Wynn said that the deal happened because of Daybreak’s connections with the pro team Echo Fox and the interesting twist that this winner-takes-all tournament will provide.

“We have a unique opportunity to do something with King of the Kill that no one else can do,” Wynn said, “and that’s putting on a tournament with 15 teams of five players each all competing at the same time. It’s not a ladder-style knockout like in traditional sports. All these guys will get into one game, in one match, and all compete simultaneously. This unique experience is what appealed to the different partners.”

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H1Z1’s newest $300,000 tournament will be televised

In April, you won’t have to turn to Twitch to see professional teams beat the crap out of each other in H1Z1 — you’ll merely have to turn on the TV.

The next big H1Z1: King of the Kill tournament, Fight for the Crown, will be televised on The CW Network come Thursday, April 20th. Fifteen teams of pro players will engage in a single match in front of a live audience to win part of a $300,000 prize pool. There is no respawning or corpse running here; each player only will have one life to use.

Teams can go ahead and apply to be part of this tournament, although four teams have already been locked in and confirmed as participants. The TV event will actually be the finale of a five-episode docuseries that will air on CW Seed this spring.

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First Impressions: Struggling to survive in Conan Exiles

I am no stranger to covering survival sandboxes for Massively OP. I wrestled with dinosaurs before ARK: Survival Evolved was a thing. I got kidnapped and tried to drown myself in a puddle, spent days building a glorified shack before hackers or server admins could destroy them, and got to better understanding of what it’s like to be an Asian gamer thanks to Valve’s social experiment. There have been some good memories for sure, but the cancelled games, broken promises, and fact that most of the genre is in an infinite non-launch state are just some of the reasons I’ve been losing faith in online, multiplayer survival games. I love the idea of PvP allowing for meaningful social gameplay, but in reality, I mostly experience only ganking. But without PvP, I generally get so bored of PvE that I run into the arms of a (J)RPG so I can get drama and permadeath in a finished product, often without kids screaming at me to stop moving and just die.

But here I am again: roped into another shot at the genre. I’m looking at pay-to-play Conan Exiles like a launch title, “early access” be damned!

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Massively OP Podcast Episode 102: Sailing into the future

As we say in MMO worlds, when one ship sinks, another one sets sail. On today’s show, Larry and Justin tip their hats to Asheron’s Call while struggling to keep on top of all of the news of other games and their upcoming content. From tactical operations to high seas expansions, it’s a jam-packed show! Without the jam!

It’s the Massively OP Podcast, an action-packed hour of news, tales, opinions, and gamer emails! And remember, if you’d like to send in your own letter to the show, use the “Tips” button in the top-right corner of the site to do so.

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Daybreak: ‘We have not given up’ on H1Z1’s console launch

Daybreak has posted up an H1Z1: King of the Kill Q&A last night that sheds some light on the state of the game, in one of many planned for the future. “For now we are going to be doing them sometimes on Twitter and sometimes on Reddit, Tuesday mornings at 11am Pacific,” the studio promises.

Of note, Daybreak says it has not given up on the console launch of the game, which was postponed indefinitely in September of 2016 along with the formal release of King of the Kill (which is still in early access), though the studio says it still has no ETA: “We are first and foremost committed to a quality release when we do decide to do it.

The team also says it’s working on desync diagnosis, skirmishes, building a ranking system for small groups, new EU servers, and vehicle bailing. There are no plans for a new map, though the existing map is getting more love.

And as for spectator mode, the team says it’s “working on improving it, but it is a pretty big undertaking to improve the jerkiness of the view of your teammates. In order to improve it we have to change code that is fairly fundamental. So that means we have to be really, really careful, which means it takes longer. We are committed to ensuring that it works well before pushing to live.”

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Perfect Ten: The MMOs with the most unclear futures in 2017

A little while back, I took a look at the healthiest games in the MMO space at this time. That was a nice, uplifting list, wasn’t it? And all of those titles continue to do just fine, even if one or two might have had a few bits of shocking news along the way.

Unfortunately, this is not an industry in which health is assured. Games can be high-quality and beloved, but they can still be shut down by outside forces. And that’s not counting games that just come out in the wrong time period or launch in an unrecoverable state.

That may sound grim, but we’re already staring at the first two shutdowns of 2017 in the near future, and both of the titles being killed are surprises. One of them might have wound up on this list if it weren’t being shut down, but at this point, it is. So let’s look at the MMOs with the most unclear futures and start hoping for the best.

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